Windsor

Water demand soars during Windsor drought

Enwin Utilities pumped out about 4,322 megalitres of water last month, which is a significant jump from the estimated 3,600 megalitres typically used in June.
June water usage in Windsor increased to levels not seen since 2012, largely because of an extremely dry spring and summer. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

Water usage in Windsor has jumped to levels not seen since 2012, largely because of an extremely dry spring and summer.

Enwin Utilities pumped out about 4,322 megalitres of water last month, which is a significant jump from the estimated 3,600 megalitres typically used in June.

The people managing Windsor's water supply say the drop isn't too alarming because usage has been steadily decreasing for nearly a decade. Supply, however, isn't the issue, according to conservation authorities in the region.

People should think twice about using water for cosmetic reasons, such as watering their lawns and gardens, said Tim Byrne, director of watershed management systems with the Essex Region Conservation Authority.

"No potable water supply system was designed exclusively to water lawns and make lawns green," he said. "That puts a load on the systems."

We're parched

For weeks, farmers have been struggling to keep crops irrigated because of the latest dry weather. Windsor had two of the driest months since 2005.

The region received 59 millimetres of rain in May, well below the normal of 89 mm, according to Environment Canada.

June wasn't much better, when just 37 mm of rain fell. That's the driest June since 27 mm fell back in 2005.

That lack of rainfall has likely led to residents using more water, explained Garry Rossi, Enwin's director of water production.

"We're speculating that's what it is," he told CBC Windsor Morning. 'We haven't really seen any other reason for that."

Plenty of water

Water usage in Windsor has been on the decline. After a peak usage level in 2007, residents have seen a 30 per cent decrease over the past nine years.

That has led to water production facilities operating at about 50 per cent capacity, leaving plenty of room to use more water.

"We have no concerns of being able to provide the water that's required," Rossi said.

But just because the city has the capacity, doesn't mean residents should take advantage of it, added Byrne.

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